Cement maker vows to help build houses

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014


CEMENT manufacturer Cemex Philippines pledged P25 million in assistance to Yolanda survivors in four northern Cebu local government units.

The assistance includes the construction of houses and classrooms, and livelihood.

Under the Build Unity project of Cemex Philippines Foundation and its partner nongovernment organizations (NGOs), 44 families in Bogo City and another 44 in Daanbantayan town will have new houses by August.

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Cemex will also build classrooms in Kawit National High School in Medellin town and provide training on masonry and vocational courses to typhoon survivors in San Remigio.

Using the money donated by Cemex employees from 50 countries, Cemex Philippines president Pedro Palomino said they will help affected residents rebuild their lives.

Commitment

“We feel we can touch the lives of people who really need help, not only covering basic things but be able to provide them with support even in the future,” Palomino said. “Cemex has a commitment with the Province: we are here and we are here for long, and we want to return to the communities all the good things they are giving us.”

Palomino led the launching of the Build Unity project at the Cebu City Marriott Hotel yesterday, along with their partners—the Cebu Provincial Government, the City of Bogo and the Municipality of Daanbantayan, the Department of Education, and its NGO partners Gawad Kalinga and 3V1G (3 Villages 1 Goal)—in the Build Unity Project.

Bogo City Mayor Celestino “Junie” Martinez Jr. and Daanbantayan Mayor Augusto Corro, however, said repair damaged government infrastructure still await funding.

They said the repair of roads, bridges, hospitals and health centers will have to wait until the National Government releases the funds for the rehabilitation of areas hit by Yolanda last Nov. 8.

“(We have started moving on) houses and livelihood, but we have not touched yet the damaged government properties. That is what we need national funding for. We have suspended those needs and we have concentrated on the needs of the families and survivors,” Martinez said in a press conference after the launch.

But local government units also need assistance to prepare communities for future calamities.

In Bogo alone, 4,000 families living in no-build zones need to be relocated. There are private sector pledges to build houses for only 2,000 families.

In Daanbantayan, some 3,000 families need to be relocated, but there are only pledges for 400 houses.

Budget

Martinez and Corro said they do not mind the reduction of the proposed rehabilitation funds for Cebu from P26.8 billion to P10 billion.

“Immediately after Yolanda, some business owners and private donors already took care of some of the needs of the people that is why if before we needed P100 million, the amount can be reduced now,” Corro said.

Aside from housing and livelihood, Cemex will also donate a boat ambulance to the island barangays of Carnaza, Batbatan, Malapascua and Gibitngil in Daanbantayan town.

In the area of environmental conservation, the company will provide underwater sculptures to San Remigio town. The sculptures will serve as temporary marine habitat.

Chito Maniago, corporate communications and public affairs director of Cemex, said they chose the beneficiaries after a series of consultations with their partner NGOs, affected residents and their own assessment of the affected communities.

They hope to help other towns when additional donations from their partners and other private foundation come.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 05, 2014.

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